Valley restaurants in need of employees as foot traffic increases

Posted at 10:35 PM, Sep 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-05 01:35:17-04

While Valley restaurants are finally busy, they’re still struggling to hire enough help.

Louis Basile is the founder of Wildflower. He says, right now they have enough hands to help.

Though they are short on managers.

“Nobody had any idea that a year and a half later we’d be talking about something like this and how disruptive it’s been,” he told ABC15.

Basile founded the Wildflower nearly 25 years ago.

He says, when the pandemic hit, things changed.

“I just think the pandemic has given all sorts of people the opportunity to sort of reconsider...think about what is it that I’m passionate know in Arizona, the extra unemployment benefits were removed in July. That’s some of the problem[s],” he added.

It’s a shift that has certainly brought in some shortages.

“It’s incredibly hard to find line cooks right now. Right. So those are the folks that work tirelessly in the kitchens. And then managers are in demand,” Basile told ABC15.

Abril Garcia has worked there for more than two years. Her mom Edna, recently joined the team.

Throughout her time at Wildflower, this is what she’s noticed.

“Just seen a lot of people come and go. Not a lot of people stay, and especially just the shortage of supplies,” said Garcia.

So they’ve had to adapt and, given the increase in foot traffic, hire new people.

Tamar Hudson is one of their new hires. She has been working at Wildflower for a little over two months.

“There’s definitely more people coming in. Like it’s been getting a lot more busy recently, which is really good...I really like it here,” said Hudson.

Dan Bogert is the Chief Operating Officer with the Arizona Restaurant Association.

He says while many places may still be short-staffed, the hospitality industry is bouncing back.

“Nationwide we’re within about one million jobs of being back to our pre-pandemic level of just a little over 12 million jobs. So, we’re moving in the right direction,” Bogert told ABC15.

This is a direction Basile says nobody planned for, but one he can work with.

“We’re planning on this being sort of the new business as usual for a while. The silver lining in it is that lots and lots of businesses are still standing. They’re out here serving the public, and that’s a good thing,” said Basile.